I earned that title from my little brother. I guess he noticed that I’ve always been draw to plants, the outdoors, herbs… I recall standing at our back porch and seeing “elephant ears” (as we called them) growing along the foundation of our house. Mother was madly hacking at them, a “weed” she called them. It wasn’t until years later that I learned they were the marvelous burdock. Plantain, lobelia, Queen Anne’s Lace, mullein, chickory… all “weeds” with healing properties that grew in our back yard.
When I was 15 I got my first paying job – at a greenhouse. I had to nearly bribe the owner to give me a try… he didn’t think I could muscle the bags of dirt that would need unloaded weekly. He gave me a try, I earned the job and then some, not knowing until the end of the first week if I was staying or not. The paycheck was a welcome bonus.
And so today, I still find myself turning toward the plant, the herb, the essential oil: to make tinctures, salves, food. And nearly every herb my family needs for common ailments can be found in my own backyard. Why not schedule an herb walk in YOUR backyard? Find someone who knows herbs, and ask them to show you. You can learn with field guides, as I did, but it is much easier to recall names and uses if someone tells you in person.
Here is a Missouri Guide from the University of Missouri Extension Office to get you started.